Our daughter got invited to go boating today. It's the last weekend before she starts high school, she's completed her summer reading logs and has already emailed them to the teacher, and it's supposed to hit 100 degrees. There was no reason to say no... except my own jealousy.

So I agreed, with the condition that the clean her room.

Imagine my surprise when I went to wake her.
"It's 7:00," I said rather gruffly. "And I thought you were supposed to have cleaned your room so you could go."

She just blinked at me.

I used to teach parenting classes. I do know about consequences and follow through and how kids need rules and boundaries. I know she needs to know that when Mom says something, she means it.

I'm also aware of the 14 year old tornado that would have been released if I had done what I should have done, and not let her go. I know how disappointed her friend would be, who I'm sure was only allowed to invite one friend and she chose Kennedy. But these are just excuses.

At times, I am a marshmallow mom, and I'm sure that has contributed to fact that our home often looks like a frat house, that our children often argue and fight, and the fact that I do way more chores than anyone else.

And I'm gonna crack down, really. I've already announced that stuff left in the living room will be dumped outside. With school starting this week, new chore responsibilities will go in to effect. Bedtimes will exist once again... at least for the younger two...

I post this not seeking any support or condolences, but more as a reminder to myself that I really do need to get a little tougher. Most of you are probably guilty of the same behavior, at least once in a while (except for you, Lisa Souers), so maybe you need the reminder too.

I'm also hoping that Kennedy will get wind of the post and suffer a little embarrassment at the picture. Feel free to send her a note :-)

photo by http://mybakingheart.com/

Are you a person who "feels hard?" In situations where someone else might say, "Oh that's so sad!" you are moved to tears? I have always been one of those, and a couple of my kids are too. We're sensitive...perhaps to a fault, because socially, it's not ok to just burst out crying when you see a dog get hit by a car or hear of someone else's tragic misfortune.

I must say, Prozac has helped me with this. I'm not depressed; I love my life. But I really have to be careful and filter out a lot of the "bad", because it can get almost paralyzing.
As I flipped through twitter this morning, I kept seeing #apieformikey on a lot of tweets. so I investigated a bit. Within minutes I had the story.

Jennie, a successful food blogger, married and mother of two adorable girls, suddenly lost her husband Mike to a heart attack this past Sunday. I don't know her, but they look to be late 30s-40-ish. I think the girls are 4 and 8. There was no warning. Looking through her stream, I saw she had tweeted Sunday that she had 13 days to get ready for a family vacation, then the next tweet was how she couldn't believe he was gone.

Until today I had not followed Jennie. Didn't even know about her. But her story set me back this morning. Especially the quick video of
dad and daughter that she at some point had taken a moment to record on her phone. Take a look. How treasured has that suddenly become?

To help Jennie and her girl's through their grief hundreds of people are following her wish:
“make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love… then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on."

On my surprise day off (thanks, boss), I am deeply saddened, perhaps more than most. But I am also reminded how important today is and how we all need to let those we love know just how much we love them.

Blessings to you, Jennie.

Yes, I know I write about my kids a lot. They are pretty much my world, and I am proud of them for not just what they do and accomplish, but for the people that they simply are.

The other day, our oldest, Michael, did something that spoke volumes about who he is, and I nearly drowned in a swell of love for him.

Last Tuesday he took my car to get it serviced at the Honda place by Walmart. Ten minutes after he got there he called me at work .

“You didn’t say it would take an hour,” he complained. “What am I supposed to do for an hour?!”

I told him to go wander around Walmart. Look at videos. Buy something to eat.

Grumbling, he said something about Burger King and hung up, and I went back to what I had been working on.

About an hour and a half later, he showed up in the office. He wasn’t grouchy anymore, and as he gave me the car key he said he was going to a friend’s.

“What did you do while you waited?” I asked.

“Well, I walked to Burger King and I was kinda hungry so I got four hamburgers. But I didn’t eat them because on the way to Walmart I passed four homeless people. There were four between Burger King and Walmart! I gave each of them a burger.”

Then he just kind of shrugged, said he’s text me later, and left the office.

I watched him leave and my heart caught in my throat. My little boy, my baby…

I know he’s almost grown. He kind of has a beard! I know my time left with having him as my child is almost gone.

But that afternoon, I was struck by the young adult he has become, and I realized that, as parents, we must have done somethings right.

Matthew 25:40

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’